November is National Adoption Awareness Month. In anticipation, I worked hard for the past several months creating a website for adoptees, by adoptees. The idea for Dear Adoption, came to me over a year and a half ago in the middle of the night. The following morning, I called to tell my mom about it and we discussed all the possibilities. Last week, on November 1st, I finally launched the site.
The response has far exceeded my hopes.
The letters written by adoptees have far exceeded my expectations.
The Statement of Purpose will help provide a better understanding of the site, as a whole. Dear Adoption is not anti-adoption. It is not pro-adoption. In fact, DearAdoption.com doesn’t have an agenda beyond providing a platform for adoptees to share their stories. While there are many people affected by adoption (birth parents, adoptive parents, siblings, etc…), there is no one more affected than adoptees.
My personal views on adoption are not detailed on the site because the site isn’t about me. I created, manage, and promote the site. I may post occasionally, as an adoptee, but that is the only scenario in which my personal feelings will be stated.
This is the space in which I share my views…
While my feelings surrounding adoption have changed and grown over the course of the past few years, I am still pro-adoption in many scenarios, but not all. I do believe there is a case for adoption. I don’t, however, believe any adoptee will be spared the grief that is a natural part of being separated from ones biological family and culture. I also believe adoption can be corrupt to the point of crossing over into child trafficking. I do not believe all adoption is child trafficking. Not all adoptees agree with me on this and that’s okay. I respect the opinions of all adoptees, even those I don’t agree with.
There are some areas involving adoption in which I find myself repeatedly frustrated. Much of my frustration surrounds the conflict that tends to arise between adoptees and adoptive parents.
I wish many adoptees understood there are adoptive parents who adopt with good intentions and provide positive, wonderful environments for their children. Mine certainly did. I have many friends who have and are raising their adopted children in loving homes in which they’re encouraged to share their ever evolving feelings on being an adoptee. Many adoptees I’ve spoken to have had horrific, unspeakable atrocities inflicted on them by their adoptive families; I ache for them, grieve for them, and want justice for them. It’s important we recognize, though, not all adoptive parents fall into that category. If an adoptee chooses to be anti adoption and works to abolish adoption that is their choice. However, being unsupportive of adoptive parents who are currently raising adopted children feels like a backwards step to me. How can we support young adoptees if we aren’t, in some way, supporting their parents?
I also wish many adoptive parents were more willing to listen to adoptees. This is a huge problem; an even greater one than that which was mentioned above, frankly. Far too often, unfortunately, adoptees stories are met with resistance by adoptive parents. Often times, adoptive parents take offense and assume they are under attack. That is simply not the case, all of the time. There are many adoptees whose intention in sharing is to create a safer space for the next generation of adoptees; I count myself among them. We are not questioning your parenting, trying to teach you a lesson, attempting to scare you, or assuming we know better for your children. We have lived it. We are living it. We want to share tools with you to add to your parenting tool box. Receive our stories or don’t, but please don’t fight with us. It creates an environment in which we are all less productive and, frankly, adopted children suffer most of all, as a result.
The adoptive parent perspective is important. However, as it pertains to creating change in adoption, I don’t believe it’s comparable to the voice of the adoptee. They can both be important, but for many years, the adoptee voice has been considered less valuable and I find that kind of mind boggling. Adoptive parents, we aren’t devaluing you as parents. We are simply asking you to listen. Please don’t devalue our voices because in doing so you are devaluing the voices of your own children.
Truth be told, I don’t fully understand the friction between adoptees and adoptive parents. Are we not on the same team? Why wouldn’t we be? You want the best for your children. We want the best for your children. I am on Team: Foster Healthy Environments for ALL Adopted Children. Let us give them room to share and grieve; to rejoice and grow. We can be on that team together. We should be…for the children.
Are there awful adoptive parents? Yes. Are there adoptees who do not believe that some parents who adopt do so legally, with tender, unselfish hearts for their children, and raise adoptees well? Yes.
I want to offer support for adoptees. I want to offer support for adoptive parents. In my world, it’s possible to do both. I also hope for and expect support for DearAdoption.com from both adoptees and adoptive parents because we are on the same team. We need not agree on everything but we ought to share common ground for Team Adoptee.